What is your morning routine? Are you up before the alarm, or do you hit the snooze button? Mornings can be difficult for many people, but dealing with them effectively can be important for setting the tone for your entire day. Good morning routines can create stability in your life which is essential no matter who you are or your career. Whether you are a morning person or not, we all can benefit from having a solid morning routine. We know that creating a clear yet simple routine can make a huge difference in your day, but how do we do it? I will share my five simple tips for creating a morning routine that works for you.
1. Be Intentional
Even if you think you don’t have a routine, you probably do. It could be you oversleep, scroll on your phone before getting up, or run late every day, but if you do it every day, then it’s a routine, even if it’s not productive. So ask yourself why you need a better morning routine.
To have a more intentional routine, finding the reason for your routine is critical. Take time to reflect on what you would like to accomplish and what you would like this routine to do for you.
For me, I want to start my day by getting in touch with my creative side by journaling, reading, and researching ideas. Once I determined my why the routine became very clear.
2. Plan It
The first step in creating a morning routine is understanding how you currently spend your time. Think about all the things you need to do in the morning, like eat breakfast, get dressed, and other essential daily tasks. Reflect on each task and estimate the time it takes to complete.
Now, think about all the activities that could help create a more productive, impactful morning. Remember, you are choosing the why behind this morning routine. Think about what you need to do to accomplish your goals and get closer to your ideal self.
The activities can include meditation, prayer, journaling, gratitude practices, exercising, setting an intention, listening to a podcast, playing an instrument, reading, etc. The activities should help create a calm, positive mood that sets the tone for the day and helps you feel more productive. Determine the approximate time needed for each activity or how much time you would like to commit to it. Now you know how much time you will need to complete your morning routine.
3. Be Prepared
If you Google “morning routine,” you’ll receive more than 26 million search results, and for good reason: Early risers seem to get more done and live happier lives. The most productive people ensure their morning is already organized to focus on improving their day instead of playing catch up.
But a morning routine is only half of a productive day; the other is the evening routine that precedes it. Decide the night before what time you will need to wake up in order to complete your morning routine. Complete any task that might interrupt your morning, like packing lunches, picking out your outfit, or unloading the dishwasher. Doing these things the night before will make for a smoother morning.
Finally, create a morning routine checklist to help make your ideal morning routine a habit. I’ve included one that I create to help get you started.
Set up any materials that you might need to complete your task. I usually take a few minutes to set out my planner and idea journal on my desk the night before. This alleviates having to look for it in the morning. Setting your priorities before you get into bed will help you wake up with purpose and clarity.
4. Stack the Habits
In his book, Habit Stacking: 127 Small Changes That Will Improve Your Health, Wealth, and Happiness Steve Scott writes:
“The essence of habit stacking is to take a series of small changes (like eating that piece of fruit) and build a ritual you follow daily. These small changes can produce extraordinary results because small changes inspire small wins, and small wins inspire us to persevere when we feel like quitting. The purpose of habit-stacking is to create a repeatable and straightforward routine that is easy to accomplish.”
So how do I use Habit Stacking to build my morning routine? I build on an existing habit as a trigger and complete this sentence:
After I (existing habit), I will (new habit).
Look at an example from my morning:
After I drink a glass of water, I will make the coffee.
After I make the coffee, I will go to my office.
After I go to my office, I will write for 5 minutes in my Idea Journal.
The goal is to specify which habit you’ll use as a trigger for your new habit. Building a new habit can be challenging initially; try writing these down to help you stay focused and intentional.
5. Give Yourself Grace
Is this new routine going to be perfect? No. Will it be hard sometimes? Yes. The goal is not to be perfect but be genuine. Don’t beat yourself up if you hit the snooze button one day and miss the morning routine. Just try again tomorrow.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all routine that works for everyone, but there is a best way for you, and with a bit of time, patience, and practice, you can find your ideal morning routine.
Remember, you are setting aside time to do a task that brings you joy, makes you more productive and sets the tone for the rest of the day. Lean it to the process and enjoy it.